The city contains within it Nomadic, Soviet, and the 21st Century Mongolia. You can see nomadic ghers (yurts) throughout the city; they can be a useful add-on to a house, or a house in itself. Dilapidated soviet-era apartment blocks line the streets like crumbling ghosts of the past. In the city-center sleek modern office and government buildings are steadily replacing the Stalinist architecture.
KBAC (pronounced kvas, similar to beer, but with a very low ABV) and МОРОЖЕНОЕ (pronounced marozhenae, Ice Cream) vendors brighten up many corners of the city. The streets are partially paved, but Mongolian women gracefully traverse them only in high hills (russian school).
Russian pop-music is blasting from car stereos and cafes. Russian candies are offered to Buddhas and Lamas in the city’s temples. And Russian UAZ vans roam on Mongolian vast roadless plains.